Sunday, January 08, 2006

Familiar Name in the Times

Ever since the New York Times published its bombshell story about the government's warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, backers of the Bush administration have been outraged at what they see is an illegal leak of sensitive information. The Times has categorized their sources as whistleblowers who, as author James Risen related on "Meet the Press" today, "believed that there was illegal activity" going on.

Meanwhile, many right-wingers have predictably tried to obscure debate over the real issue at hand by focusing on the leak rather than the possible abuse of executive power. PowerLine angrily declared "throw 'em in the slammer" when the Justice Department launched its investigation last week. Of course, the administration has known about the leak for a year now, and only just now launched its investigation. My dad raises this point in a Sunday letter to Byron Calame of the Times:
You missed a crucial point about the timing of the Justice Department's opening of "an investigation into the disclosure of classified information about the eavesdropping." If the Bush administration knew about this leak for a year, why didn't the president ask the Justice Department to probe the leak back then?

How is national security better served now by going into what a possible whistle-blower did a year ago? Hasn't the damage already been done? The investigation now reeks of political opportunism, as opposed to genuine national security concerns.

Germantown, Md., Jan. 3, 2006

To me, looking into the identity of the government whistleblowers is trivial compared to a thorough investigation into the legality of the domestic surveillance program. Let's see some answers on that front.

CB Archive:
"Spying Storm Will Blow Over" (December 30, 2005)
"Spy Games" (December 21, 2005)

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